False reflexives III: Italian grammar lesson 156

To master this grammar topic, take Lesson 156 of the audio course Ripeti Con Me!
tan in italian

False reflexives in Italian

As we have seen in the previous lessons, the riflessivi impropri, or false reflexives, are verbs that look like reflexives but are not. They can take 3 forms:

In this lesson, we’ll look at the third one, la forma riflessiva pronominale (pronominal reflexives).

wake up in italian

Forma pronominale: Explained

In the pronominal form, the particles mi, ti, ci, si, vi do not give the verb a reflexive meaning, but they are an integral part of the verb itself, which does not exist without them.

These verbs are called verbi pronominali, and they have the same value and function as an intransitive verb, which means they do not need a direct object.

Non voglio entrare, mi vergogno.

I don’t want to go in, I am shy.

Ci siamo pentiti di non essere venuti.

We regretted the fact we did not come.

Ti sei abbronzata!

You got tanned!

As you can see in the examples above, these verbs use the same particles as a reflexive verb, but they do not have a reflexive meaning.

fall asleep in italian

Forma pronominale: Rules

As we explained earlier, in these verbs the particle is simply and integral part of the verbs, which do not exist (and would not make sense!) without them:

  • Abbronzarsi (to get tanned)
  • Pentirsi (to repent/regret)
  • Accorgersi (to notice)

Some verbs can also exist both in a transitive reflexive form and in an intransitive pronominal form. Note that they change their meaning in the two different forms.

  • Transitive: addormentare (to make someone fall asleep)
    Intransitive: addormentarsi (to fall asleep)
  • Transitive: svegliare (to wake someone up)
    Intransitive: svegliarsi (to wake up)
  • Transitive: annoiare (to bore)
    Intransitive: annoiarsi (to be bored)

 get bored italian

Forma pronominale: Conjugation

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Even if they have a different meaning and function, the verbi pronominali are conjugated in the same way as all reflexive verbs:

(to fall asleep)
(to get bored)
(to regret)
io mi addormento mi annoio mi pento
tu ti addormenti ti annoi ti penti
lui, lei si addormenta si annoia si pente
noi ci addormentiamo ci annoiamo ci pentiamo
voi vi addormentate vi annoiate vi pentite
loro, Loro si addormentano


si annoiano si pentono


Passato Prossimo
(to fall asleep)
(to get bored)
(to regret)
io mi sono addormentato/a mi sono annoiato/a mi sono pentito/a
tu ti sei addormentato/a ti sei annoiato/a ti sei pentito/a
lui, lei si è addormentato/a si è annoiato/a si è pentito/a
noi  ci siamo addormentati/e ci siamo annoiati/e ci siamo pentiti/e
voi  vi siete addormentati/e vi siete annoiati/e vi siete pentiti/e
loro, Loro si sono addormentati/e si sono annoiati/e si sono pentiti/e

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